Conservatives flock to ‘values voter’ summit, but message may be mixed

Religion News Service | 9/21/2018 | Staff
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(RNS) — Every year, conservative Christians flock to the Values Voter Summit, where they are regaled with speeches from big-name conservative leaders. And every year, journalists and pundits follow them, reporting dutifully on those speeches and the often-controversial statements of lesser-known panelists as they rail against progressives.

But as activists and reporters in Washington, D.C., kick off this year’s event on Friday (Sept. 21), primarily white evangelical conservative Christians may find themselves in a quandary.

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With President Trump still mired in scandal following allegations he paid off a porn star after an extramarital affair, and with a conservative U.S. Supreme Court nominee currently facing allegations of sexual assault, “values voter” advocates are left defending an administration that shares their public policy goals but may fall short of their private values.

Gary Bauer, former head of the Family Research Council whose lobbying arm organizes the summit, was quick to dismiss allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

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“Look, I have sympathy and I am praying for the accuser out in California for whatever happened in her life and I’m sure this is a difficult time,” said Bauer, who also supported Clarence Thomas after he was accused of sexual harassment by former colleague Anita Hill.

“But what she’s saying is unproven and I would argue it’s unprovable.”

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Emilie Kao, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, said she is speaking at the event this year for the first time because “I know that the Family Research Council cares a lot about religious freedom.”

Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, noted that unlike past years when Values Voter Summit speakers railed against the Obama administration, conservative Christians now have an ally in the White House. Tony Perkins, current FRC head and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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